Resident Evil Village (aka Resident Evil 8) is my most anticipated game for the PS5. I'm so excited about it that I'm even thinking of buying a PS5, just to make sure I can run the game at full tilt. (And I'd given up on the PS5.) But I'm starting to worry about how big the game will be.
We live in a moment where backlash can occur because fans have high expectations for game length. And while that makes some sense to me — the economy isn't great, every dollar needs to stretch — I hope Resident Evil Village doesn't succumb to that pressure.
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There's probably a world in which Resident Evil 8 could be long and great. Capcom could, in fact, pull off a mighty hit with an epic tale. But to paraphrase The Big Lebowski, these are my concerns, dude.
Resident Evil Village's run time
I have been thinking about Resident Evil 8's potential run time for a few weeks. I truly love Resident Evil 7, in part for its tight editing. Then, this past Tuesday, Peter Fabiano, producer and founder of Global Production at Capcom, told Official PlayStation Magazine that RE8 is "much larger than what players experienced in Resident Evil VII: Biohazard."
Some fans got very excited at this news, as you can see in comments to a Reddit post about the news (though the post also covers a lack of load times and 3D audio support). Redditor u/ClappinCheeks120 replied with a simple "Hell ya," u/Abellewis31 shouted "Amen!" and u/Mastrownge declared "This is the way."
Replies on Twitter, though, seem to agree with my stance, @ExpSevDavis requested "Please don't be needlessly bloated. The pacing and story becomes an issue," @DejinerettSkomm tweeted "I don’t know about that, TBH. I feel like a lot of the times, the quality of an RE game is almost inversely proportional to its length," and @pitto said "Imho 7 was perfect. Please stop overbloating games. … Focus on quality and don't get crazy about length."
I don't want Resident Evil Village to go in the other direction for many reasons, one of them being its star villain: Lady Dimitrescu. For those who aren't aware, Lady D is a 9'6" vampire that's stolen the show so far. People love her so much that Capcom itself even put out a tweet acknowledging the fervor.
Your love for Lady Dimitrescu is loud and clear. 👒Here's a message from our RE Village art director Tomonori Takano, along with a very curious fact you may have wondered about: pic.twitter.com/Lj4m5pN2dJFebruary 2, 2021
But if Resident Evil 8 is too long, I've got concerns we'll learn too much about Lady Dimitrescu. A lot of sci-fi, horror and fantasy stories tell us too much about their mysterious characters, delivering unnecessary backstory and explanations.
Why Resident Evil Village should be short
How Long To Beat clocks Resident Evil 7 at about nine hours for the main story, and 22 hours for completionists. This makes sense for a horror title, where you're on a roller-coaster of suspense. Think about how a Netflix season rarely overstays its welcome. Similarly, every single scene in Resident Evil 7 feels necessary, without a moment of filler.
In the world of blockbuster video games, RE7 is on the shorter side. 2018's God of War (21 hours for main story and 51 hours for completionists) and The Last of Us Part 2 (24 hours for main story, 40 hours for completionists) are more the norm. While both games are great, neither is a horror game (TLOU2 has horrifying sections, but it's half drama), and horror is a tough mood to sustain.
On top of that, it's easy to see how Resident Evil 7's shorter time likely translates to less for the developers to build.This gives them the ability to focus on refining the game instead of expanding it.
The boss fights in Resident Evil 7, such as the unforgettable first fight in the prelude and the chainsaw duel in the pit, are practically perfect set pieces. And since I'm not especially great at these fights, I've spent a lot of time looking at every element of what's going on. It's game design at its finest.
Even the Molded baddies, the nasty Venom lookalikes, were designed with exquisite care. When I first came across one, I had conflicting feelings. At first, I wanted to erase it from existence, while hoping more weren't lurking around the corner (they were). Then, I thought, "damn, those things are cool. There'd better be more."
The case for a shorter Resident Evil
If we're lucky, Fabiano's referring to the scale of Resident Evil 8, and not the time it takes to finish. And if the game is longer, perhaps it's only a few extra hours.
Were I more optimistic about game development, I'd believe that the powers that be at Capcom would grow their development team size for such a task, or give them more time to finish the game. We don't know, as production cycle details aren't widely publicized in the gaming world (until something goes wrong, as with Cyberpunk 2077).
The early materials we've seen for Resident Evil 8, including the "Maiden" demo, suggest this game will live up to the quality of what's come before. I just hope that Resident Evil Village is the jaw-dropping Game of the Year contender that it appears to be so far.